The Freelings are a normal American family in a normal American suburb. Dad smokes weed while reading a book about President Reagan, Mom cheerfully watches her teenage daughter being verbally harassed by construction workers (including Sonny Landham from PREDATOR and Lou Perryman from TCM 2), the dog eats a waffle, teenage daughter fondly remembers the fun she had at the Holiday Inn, kids throw food all over the place, the youngest daughter talks to ghosts inside the TV. Say what?! That's not normal.
It appears that the Freelings have a ghost problem on their hands: a killer tree in the backyard, toys that float in the air, a ghost hand reaching out of the TV, chairs that move around the kitchen and worst of all...their youngest daughter has been sucked into the ghost world and can't get out. Instead of calling the cops (who would have probably just stole the weed and then shot the dog before calling it a day), the parents call in some paranormal investigators. What happens next is...kinda blah.
The best way to watch POLTERGEIST is to watch it as a kid back in the 1980's. I saw it back then (as a kid) and it was a trip, but watching it now as a stunningly handsome adult I was underwhelmed. The story is alright, but it just never grabbed me like it did back then. It might be because I don't believe in ghosts or it could simply be that this film is dated and not very exciting anymore. The creepy steak scene was still creepy (although why the guy was being quiet as to not wake up anybody when he was about to grill a fucking steak was kinda odd) and the special effects are nice, but I still found my mind wandering during the final act when, if this was a truly timeless 80's thriller (like say THE THING or ALIENS), my eyes should have been glued to the screen.
Despite it's flaws, POLTERGEIST is still mandatory viewing for anybody interested in 80's popular culture. Solid acting, nice pace, Dexter's mother-in-law looking good in those shorts, James Karen being as awesome as always, Craig T. Nelson topless, tons of moments that have been referenced endlessly in other movies and TV shows, lots of STAR WARS merch. Check it out.
Part 2 - Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)
Part 3 - Poltergeist III (1988)
Remake - Poltergeist (2015)
A GUY NAMED JOE (1943)
I'm guessing this is a nod to producer Frank Marshall.
GO FOR BROKE! (1951)